I Gave Up on Meditation Apps Until I Discovered One That Changed My Approach to Mindfulness
I've always wanted to be a person who meditates. The practice has so many proven benefits—reduced stress, boosted immunity, improved cognition, and better sleep quality—but I've always struggled developing the skill. Usually, my attempts to be present and mindful (both mental requirements for successful meditation) end in new home improvement projects or another item to add to the grocery list.
Even the best meditation apps couldn't help me get into the habit. I had no motivation to get through a guided meditation, regardless of how many soothing sounds or prompts were included. Then I tried MyLife, an app that tailors a personalized meditation plan to your current physical and mental state. (Disclaimer: MyLife and Real Simple share a parent company, but all views are our own.)
Although the customized recommendations make the app stand out from competitors, it wasn't what sold me on MyLife. Rather, I loved how the app didn't limit mindfulness to meditation, but also offered other activities like breathwork and yoga. It was a new way to listen to my body and reset my mind that didn't require me to sit silently like a rock — and it actually worked.
For example, one of the app's hundreds of breathing exercises gave me something to focus on during my mindfulness session. By tracking each inhale and exhale, it was easier to stay in the moment and stop intrusive thoughts. On days when I was more antsy, I'd opt for a quick 10-minute workout or a restorative yoga session that let me channel my excess energy into a mindful practice.
To buy: $10 per month; mylife.com
It helps that the app also tracks your daily streaks for check-ins and meditations. As a competitive person, I thrive on seeing my total count go up, which inspires me to log in every day. While it's not providing any benefits beyond an ego boost, this small attention to detail is yet another reason I'm obsessed with using MyLife.
While it might not be your traditional understanding of meditation, it's proof there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to developing mindfulness. People at different stages of life or with different backgrounds need something unique to them, and MyLife's approach to mindfulness takes that into account. It's likely one of the reasons the app maintains a nearly perfect 4.8 rating even with more than 16,300 reviews on the Apple App Store.
Of course, anyone into traditional meditation will be ecstatic with the app, too. The daily check-in process—a 10-second breathing exercise followed by a status update on your physical, mental, and emotional status—curates a list of different meditation and activity options catered just to you. When you complete either option, the app then asks for another update on your current status. This allows you to see the benefits of your activity, and inspires you to keep coming back.
The downside? Non-meditation activities, like acupressure, are only included in the paid subscription. Premium subscribers can choose between a $10 monthly fee, or a $59 annual option. Either way, it's a small price to pay. Take it from me: The mindfulness practice I've developed over the past few weeks of using MyLife is priceless.